As an occupational therapist I am concerned with enabling children and their family do the things they want, need and are expected to be able to do, in everyday activities.
This may include modifying a task, adapting the environment to reduce barriers to performance and / or skill mastery, to promote inclusion and participation of the child in various roles (e.g. student, friend, player, sibling) with enjoyment and satisfaction.
Occupational therapy intervention can be provided in the clinic or real world environment of childcare, pre-prep and school (for travel within 10km radius from Windsor). In collaboration with a Director or Principal, parent funded individual occupational therapy can be provided where a child is withdrawn or seen in the classroom for half-hour. This enables generalisation of skills and collaboration with teaching staff.
Occupational therapy services provided can include:
- Initial consultation for information sharing and discussion to plan individual goals to guide therapy service delivery, timeframes and outcomes.
- Assessment when commencing therapy for targeted intervention. This enables identification of strengths, areas of need and reasons for difficulties.
- Assessment types include:
- Developmental assessment
- School readiness
- Fine motor
- Handwriting and writing skills
- Sensory processing
- Information processing
- Play skills
- The assessment process may include talking to the child, parents and teachers, observations of the child doing everyday activities in the clinic or school, and specialised assessments to gain specific information about the child.
- Individual therapy sessions either clinic based, or school based.
- Community observation visits including childcare, pre-prep and school.
- Consultations with parents and teachers to work in partnership toward mutual outcomes for the child.
- Knowledge sharing with schools to support inclusive learning.
Occupational therapy intervention may target the following doing skills.
- Fine motor (to enable colouring in, drawing, construction play, puzzles, game play, letter formation, writing readability)
- Written expression (planning and organising to write on paper in a structured manner)
- Play (to physically interact with objects and the environment for learning, as well as pretend / imaginative play to support creative thinking and interactions with others).
- Self-care (support with development of self-care routines such as toileting, grooming and dressing skills).
- Social connections (to support interactions with others for positive relationship development).
To enable participation in learning and working within the classroom, play opportunities, self-care routines and social connections, occupational therapy intervention may address the following underlying abilities.
- Physical Capabilities – to co-ordinate large and small body movements, sustain postures and grasp objects.
- Organisation of the Sensory System – to reduce the impact of under receptive (not sensitive enough) or over receptive (too sensitive) to sensory input, body awareness and motor planning.
- Information Processing - to attend/focus, recall, plan, organise, problem solve and do.
- Emotional Regulation – to cope with emotions, recover from strong emotion and build on positive emotions for confidence and healthy self-esteem.